Man, I don’t even know what to say.
Ten years ago this week I decided to do a little experiment: I’d draw one comic strip a day for five days, just to see if I could do it. The hook of this little comic strip–old superheroes in a nursing home–was given to me by Tad Hansen, who I knew only through the internet. Social media was in its infancy, so the comics ended up at MySpace, where I had a small following thanks to the blog I was writing at the time. One week turned into two and then two weeks turned into ten years… and here we are.
Now, that’s a extraordinarily flippant way to describe ten years of late nights, sacrifices, terrible drawings, a few good drawings, great drawings by other artists, hundreds of script pages, thousands of panels, 200-250 SuperFogeys Origins pages, and, as of today, 700 strips.
If you’d told me this week ten years ago that this is what I’d have accomplished by now… I probably would have quit right then! Seriously, in hindsight, it’s a lot of work. I don’t think I would have been able to face the prospect of doing all this back then. But now, in 2016? I’m as determined as I ever was to see this thing through.
Why? Because I love this story and I love these characters. Still. Yeah, yeah, it’s a stupid comic about retired superheroes. But, to me, it’s so much more than that. It’s funny, yes (though I’m sure your mileage may vary on that), but it’s also heartwarming, brutal, epic, tragic, hopeful, and so many, many other things. I’ve been able to express a pretty wide gamut of ideas and emotions with SuperFogeys. Pet concerns, beliefs, ideologies, and dreams have all made their way into this story and found expression in these characters.
By far my favorite character is Captain Spectacular, even though–I think quite literally–he is no one else’s favorite character. This is a guy who was dealt a rough hand at the start of his life, got incredible power and tried to do the right thing with it, but could never find it within himself to take his responsibilities as seriously as he should. He’s made a ton of mistakes, and hasn’t always recognized that. Who doesn’t that describe? Could I enumerate all my sins? I probably couldn’t. I think we’re all blind to our own faults, to a certain extent. But, if there’s one thing I believe in more than anything, it’s that we always, ALWAYS have a chance to change. There is no retirement from life, not until you’re dead. So Cap, with his late-in-life awakening to his many faults and errors and laziness and just general jerkiness despite being a halfway decent guy, is somebody I can both identify with and admire.
And that’s just one character among many. Each of the main cast–including Spy Gal, Jerry, Swifty, Dr. Rocket, Star Maiden, Tangerine, and Soviet Sam (and even a lot of the secondary cast: Percy, Zurida, Money Man, Mega Matt, Dictator Tot, Ms. Missile, Tom, Atomic Fly, Space Pig, etc.)–express something I’m trying to say or believe about life, the universe and everything. That’s too much for a comic about old people. (Which, by the way, if you ever want to make a comic that can have widespread appeal, might I suggest not making it about old people?)
My favorite moment of anything I’ve ever written or created was the day the last installment of Chapter 9, “Head Games,” first posted. That’s when the true identity of the villain behind everything was revealed and it was exactly as much of a mind blow for the readers as I hoped it would be. No one saw it coming, yet everyone saw it clearly in hindsight. There were so many clues! But, it didn’t come together until the reveal. I stressed over that reveal. I really did. And it worked.
That moment also crystalized what the comic was really all about, but not in a way that should be obvious to anyone reading then, or even this right now, in 2016. See, I’ve always known how SuperFogeys would end–how it will end. And that reveal was the first indicator of what that ending will be about. That it was a twist so universally accepted (and it pains me that I can’t link you to the old site where all the comments on those old comics still live so you can see just how insane the reaction was that day – UPDATE! Reader Alecat got in the Internet Wayback Machine and dug up the old page. You can read all the comments for yourselves right here!) was satisfying to me personally because it indicated I was on the right track with all this. I’m excited to make that final statement, at the end of it all… at the end of Chapter 25. I don’t know how many more strips it will take to get there, but the end is at least in sight.
I should probably stop writing now. There’s more to say, but they’re things better saved for that ending, when we can all talk together about what SuperFogeys means, if anything.
I mean, I’m writing a comic about retired superheroes. That’s ridiculous. One of them begs for a flying pig to pee on him, like, all the time.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
I must acknowledge Marc Lapierre. He came in at strip 301, right in the middle of Chapter 10, and saved this comic. If you’ve enjoyed anything after that point, you simply must thank its artist, Marc. I was going to stop SuperFogeys. I was going to give it up because I just couldn’t draw it anymore, but Marc stepped up and decided to commit to it and help me finish. 399 strips later, here we are. Not only did Marc save SuperFogeys, he elevated it to a new plane. If I had somehow continued to draw the strip, it just wouldn’t have been the same. The story wouldn’t be as interesting or complex, the art not as accomplished and action-packed, and the whole thing would have ended up just a lot… smaller. So, thank you, Marc, actual superhero.
I mean, look at today’s “strip.” That there is a thing of beauty.
And thank you, Patrons, and those of you have donated over the years. We got to a point a couple years ago where Marc and I just couldn’t justify the time away from our families and other responsibilities without at least a little bit of revenue coming in. Several of you have stepped up in that regard and there would be no SuperFogeys without you. We’re not making money doing this comic, but now Marc can buy supplies and SuperFogeys can keep the lights on. So, thank you. Thank you thank you.
Thank you also to Th3rd World Studios. Thank you for this great site and believing in this comic. Lastly and most importantly, thank you to our wives, for putting up with all this.
WIN SUPERFOGEYS ART!
As a special treat, we will be drawing a name from our entire pool of Patrons on Patreon for one lucky winner to receive a poster of this very comic, SF 700. I won’t be conducting the drawing until the end of the day Monday, so there’s still time to become a Patron at the SuperFogeys Patreon Page. As little as $1 a month gets you in, and you’ll not only be entered in the drawing but you’ll also get access to a lot of cool Patreon-exclusive stuff. Hope to see you over there.
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
We’ll see you again on Tuesday and Wednesday for special 10th Anniversary bonus strips! I’m particularly excited about the one on Wednesday as it represents a return to the drawing board for me and features a missing moment between Cap and Spy Gal that is just about the purest expression of what SuperFogeys really is all about as I’ve ever written.
Also! I have received one piece of fan art for posting on Thursday, but we’d sure love to feature more to round out the week! Have a favorite character? Draw them up! We don’t care about your level of skill, we just want to see your take! Can’t draw? Write a short story! A poem! We don’t care. We just don’t want to celebrate all by ourselves!
If you’d like to submit something for the 10th Anniversary, you can send it directly to me at bwhheasley (at) gmail (dot) com.
SUPERFOGEYS – THE 100′s!
Anytime we hit a centennial strip, it’s a cause for celebration and we try to make it as big a deal as we can. Since it’s always fun to look back, here’s some links to all our past “100′s” strips. Enjoy the trip through time!
See you tomorrow with 10th Anniversary Bonus Strip 1!